Cameroon govt refutes reports of massacre in Anglophone regions
London, Oct. 11, 2017 (AltAfrika)-The Cameroonian government has dismissed the allegations of mass killing in the restive Anglophone regions, a local media portal Cameroon Tribune has reported.
A statement by the Communication Minister, Issa Bakary Tchiroma, said the reports of a massacre on protesters were unfounded. The statement also accused leading members of the Anglophone regions of masterminding what is now called ‘a genocide planned by the Cameroon government against compatriots of English-speaking origin.
’“The government strongly refutes and condemns such unfounded allegations which in reality is a concrete translation of the desire of the secessionists and their relays to carry out their evil intentions to destabilize Cameroon,” the statement said.
Another part sought to absolve the security forces of blame insisting that they applied proportionate force to the protesters. “On the field, the law enforcement units showcased a remarkable sense of duty and restraint in their operations acting only in legitimate self-defense.
“It was this moderation in the retaliation of the law enforcement forces that helped to limit the loss of lives even though the regular troops were constantly harassed by armed assailants,” the statement added.
Cameroon’s anglophone areas are facing a serious social and political crisis since November 2016. The two regions – North West and South West – are pushing for independence under the Ambazonia republic.
Their attempted symbolic independence declaration on October 1, 2017 was met with heavy security crackdown which led to official deaths of eight people. Rights group, Amnesty International, puts the casualty figure at 17. Scores were reported injured and mass arrests made.
The United Nations, United States, United Kingdom and other religious groups have all called for the need to open dialogue between the government and leaders of the restive region. President Biya has also condemned the violence and called for dialogue.